Miami Institute for the Americas Invites Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to Discuss Foreign Policy in a Changing World

The Miami Institute for the Americas (MIA) of the University of Miami launched a new speaker series featuring leading policymakers of the Latin American and Caribbean region with renowned international diplomat, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Heraldo Muñoz.

Dr. Susan Kaufman Purcell, former director of UM’s Center for Hemispheric Policy, provided commentary. Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul, director of MIA, moderated the event, titled “Chile’s Foreign Policy in a Changing World.” Attendees included the consul generals of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and the deputy consul generals of Chile and Mexico.

Minster Muñoz shared a global view of policy making with a Latin American perspective based on over 30 years of experience as a researcher, writer, public leader, and national minister. He addressed topics of pressing world significance ranging from the legacies of the Cold War to economic globalization, terrorism, and the current refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. By offering an insightful perspective on the issues facing many countries today, Minister Muñoz outlined the strategies necessary for designing a foreign policy dedicated to respecting the core principles of democracy, human rights, and sovereignty.

One of the key points made by Minister Muñoz—one highly relevant to policy making on a national and global level—is the impact that social media has on the international community. “I read today that 70 percent of the world population has cellphones [smartphones]. We experience the hopes, the frustrations, and the anger of others directly in real time,” said Minister Muñoz.

Chile has experienced dramatic social and economic changes in the last few decades. Minister Muñoz described many of the positive policies the Chilean government has implemented, from the 2014 tax reform to mobilizing funds to accept migrants from Syria and Afghanistan to Chile.

Additionally, Minister Muñoz outlined three major goals Chile must accomplish to improve the country’s stance on the world stage: “First, we have to deepen our openness to the world economy and add value to our efforts. That's our first challenge. Second, we must contribute to global governance, particularly for sensitive issues for Chile. And third, we have to continue to prioritize Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.

Minister Muñoz also spoke about Chile’s contributions to the world, from renowned architect Alejandro Aravena’s accomplishments in Venice to Maritza Soto, the doctoral student from the University of Chile, who discovered a planet twice the size of Earth orbiting a star.

Elaborating on the achievements of Chileans in many other fields, Minister Muñoz summed up the course Chile is taking now: “We should not only be a country of poets, a country of great wines but a country of astronomers, a country of architects, a country of filmmakers.”

Following his remarks, the foreign minister engaged in a question-and-answer session with the audience, fielding inquiries and comments on a diverse range of issues, from changing U.S.-Cuba relations and their potential impact in the broader Caribbean to the outlook for energy production in Chile and South America.

Dr. Knaul closed the forum by reiterating MIA’s commitment to organizing events with distinguished speakers and global leaders as well as supporting other faculty and student activities at UM.  More information on MIA resources can be found at: http://www.as.miami.edu/mia/grants/cosponsorships/

‌An accomplished statesperson, Minister Muñoz was previously the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Programme from 2010 to 2014. He also served as Chile’s Ambassador-Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2003 to 2010. In addition to the high-ranking positions he has held in the international community and Chilean government, he has written and edited over a dozen publications on Inter-American relations and security, Latin American foreign relations, democracy and human rights, multilateral affairs, and international political economy.

Minister Muñoz holds a Ph.D. in international studies from the Korbel School at the University of Denver, a diploma in international relations from the Catholic University of Chile, and a B.A. in political science from the State University of New York at Oswego.

April 08, 2016